The problem with buyers today is that they’re empowered, and they know it.
That’s why they don’t buy at the back of the room as much as they used to. They know they can get it online, get it somewhere else or get along with it. You have to work so much harder to build a sense of urgency because buyers are less driven by FOMO (fear of missing out) than they used to be.
Not only that, but empowered buyers commoditize everything, including speakers and subject matter experts. They lump us together and fixate on price as the only differentiator they’re looking at.
That’s why it’s so important to find ways to stand out from the crowd. eSpeakers offers some great tools for doing that where meeting planners shop for speakers (and, unfortunately, for low prices). You probably do this on your website, too. But how are you differentiating yourself with every one you meet, from the event host to each member of the audience?
Here are five ways you can stand out from the crowd. When you differentiate yourself like this, you magnify your value and make it impossible to for anyone to commoditize you.
Differentiator #1: Shift to Dialogic Conversations
Sales conversations have traditionally been one-sided and diagnostic. The person selling something asks questions to ascertain what the buyer needs. The buyer answers. It can sound like a tennis match looks: back-and-forth, back-and-forth. Buyers have grown accustomed to this.
You can differentiate yourself by engaging in a dialogic conversation vs. a diagnostic one. Ask different kinds of questions, the kinds that yield expansive answers to give your buyer more air time. Tell relevant stories and share a bit about yourself instead of peppering your buyer with constant questions.
Differentiator #2: Create a Connecting Experience
When you shift to a 2-way conversation vs. a 1-way interview, you’ll be creating a connecting experience with your buyer. You’ll bond with your buyer in a memorable way.
Connections count. Most sellers don’t take the time to connect. The transactions they conduct are forgettable at best, and may even be insulting and impersonal. You have a huge opportunity here to stand out from the crowd.
Differentiator #3: Maintain Your Connections
Once you’ve established a connection, maintain it. Nurture it. Allow time to do so – fewer prospects and buyers who are loyal will always beat higher quantities of prospect and buyers who barely remember your name.
If you rely on social media and content to maintain your connections, be sure to start supplementing it with an occasional one-to-one connection that conveys how much you care.
Differentiator #4: Customize
That one-to-one connection is where you’ll really stand out. When you customize, you make every single buyer feel like the center of your universe. From that position, they’d never dream of leaving your orbit to seek out one of your competitors. Customization solidifies your position at the top of their list.
Customizing doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. One of the very best customizations you can offer is a high-value conversation, one where you ask thought-provoking questions and create value out of thin air just by getting your buyer to think about something new. If you need help crafting quality questions, be sure to pick up a copy of the bestseller based on buyer input – DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected.
Differentiator #5: Stop Selling & Start Leading!
Finally, to distinguish yourself from everybody else who’s trying to sell something, choose a different set of behaviors. Instead of selling, try leading your buyers. When you lead, you’ll
- Align your actions with your core values
- Inspire change and enlist your buyers in your vision
- Innovate, experiment and try new things
- Build trust as you collaborate
- Bolster your buyers’ courage and commitment
When you differentiate yourself in these ways, you’ll stand out from the crowd and demonstrate your value. You’ll nail the sale because your buyer will now understand just how much they’d be missing without you.
Deb Calvert, author of “DISCOVER Questions® Get You Connected” and Top 50 Sales & Marketing Influencer for 2014 & 2015, founded People First Productivity Solutions in 2006 to help businesses build organizational strength by putting people first. This work includes sales training and coaching; leadership program design and facilitation; team effectiveness work and executive coaching. Deb formerly worked in senior-level Sales, Operations and Human Resources roles for a Fortune 500 media company. As a member of the National Speakers Association, Deb has delighted audiences as a keynote speaker, moderator, emcee and workshop facilitator. She writes the award-winning CONNECT2Sell and CONNECT2Lead blogs and is leading the movement to Stop Selling and Start Leading!